Home Affordable Unemployment Program (UP)

July 6, 2010

 

The Home Affordable Unemployment Program (UP) is a supplemental program to the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) which provides assistance to unemployed borrowers. The Unemployment Program grants qualified unemployed borrowers a forbearance period which reduces or suspends their monthly mortgage payment.

***Note:  UP is for first lien mortgage loans that are not owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac (Non Government-Sponsored Enterprises (GSE) Mortgages) or insured or guaranteed by a federal agency, such as the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).***

The program is effective for participating HAMP servicers on July 1, 2010; however, servicers may begin to offer UP earlier.

Eligibility

Servicers are required to offer UP when the following criteria is met:

  • Loan is a first lien mortgage, originated on or before January 1, 2009, secured by a one- to four unit property, 1-unit of which is the borrower’s principal residence and the unpaid principal balance (UPB) is equal to or less than $729,750 on 1-unit properties (See Supplemental Directive 09-01 for amounts on 2 – 4 unit dwellings)
  • Loan has not been previously modified under HAMP and the borrower has not previously received a UP forbearance period
  • Borrower is unemployed at the date of the request for UP and is able to document that they will receive unemployment benefits or have been receiving unemployment benefits at commencement of the forbearance plan
  • Servicers have the discretion whether or not to require a borrower to have received unemployment benefits for up to 3 months before commencement of the forbearance plan
  • Borrower is either delinquent but has not missed more than 3 consecutive monthly payments or default is reasonably foreseeable

It is at the servicer’s discretion whether to offer UP if a borrower’s total monthly mortgage payment is less than 31% of the borrower’s monthly gross income.

Additional UP forbearance plan eligibility requirements include that the borrower:

  • Makes a request before the first mortgage lien is seriously delinquent (before 3 monthly payments are due and unpaid). A request for UP may be made by phone, mail or email. Within 10 business days, servicers must confirm the receipt of the request with the borrower via mail or return email.
  • Is unemployed at the date of the request for UP and is able to document that he or she will receive unemployment benefits in the month of the Forbearance Period Effective Date even if his or her unemployment benefit eligibility is scheduled to expire before the end of the UP forbearance period.

Terms

The UP forbearance period is 3 months or upon notification that the borrower has become re-employed; however, it can be extended in accordance with investor and regulatory guidelines.

The monthly payment MUST be reduced to 31% (or less) of the borrower’s gross monthly income. At the discretion of the servicer, monthly mortgage payments may be suspended in full.

Payment amount and due date, if any, is established by the servicer according to investor and regulatory guidelines.

Servicers are prohibited from:

  • Initiating foreclosure action or conducting a foreclosure sale while the borrower is being evaluated for UP
  • After the Foreclosure Plan Notice (FPN) is mailed
  • During the UP forbearance or extension while the borrower is being evaluated for or participating in HAMP or HAFA following, the UP forbearance period

A borrower in a permanent HAMP modification that becomes unemployed is not eligible for an UP forbearance plan.

A borrower who was previously determined to be ineligible for a HAMP modification may request consideration for an UP forbearance plan if the borrower meets all of the eligibility requirements.

If the servicer is requiring a reduced monthly payment, the borrower’s reduced payment MUST be received by the servicer on or before the last day of the month in which it is due.

If the borrower fails to make timely payments, the UP forbearance plan may be canceled and the borrower is not eligible for HAMP consideration.

Reporting Requirements

To Credit Bureaus:

The servicer should continue to report a “full-file” credit report to each major credit repository.

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Bank of America Short Sale Process Presentation

April 19, 2010

 

 On April 8, 2010, Bank of America (BOA) executives held a webinar presentation for over 10,000 Realtors to discuss BOA’s short sale process.

Tip: Refer to the Equator Agent/Homeowner Guide for step-by-step instructions 

Summary

10 Tips to Avoid Delays in Processing Time

  1. Review all documents and images for accuracy prior to uploading in Equator
  2. Ensure that property is listed in the MLS
  3. Negotiate external party fees prior to submission of HUD-1
  4. Supply HUD-1 that is valid for at least 60 days
  5. Ensure that agent and customer tasks are completed as timely as possible in Equator (i.e. accepting short sale assignment, submitting short sale offer, and uploading offer documents within 7 days)
  6. Only submit fully executed purchase offers with all appropriate addendums signed by both buyer and homeowner
  7. Work to get purchase offer representing the best possible fair market value and highest net proceeds for the lender
  8. Set appropriate expectations with buyers/sellers so they understand the complexity and resulting length of time a short sale can take
  9. Work to get a release on outside liens as early as possible
  10. The following situations will cause delays: (1) Change in buyer or agent at any time during the process; (2) Customer files bankruptcy; (3) Deal change after the approval letter is issued

Steps Already Taken to Improve the Short Sale Process

  • Increased staffing and updated training
  • Dedicated Short Sale Call Center:  1-866-880-1232
  • Hours of Operation: 8 AM – 9PM (EST), Monday -Friday
  • Extended Saturday hours – Coming Soon!
  • Equator – primary tool for initiating the short sale
  • Changed procedures to improve associate responsiveness
  • Enhanced the procedure to proactively provide loan status

Steps Underway to Enhance Programs

Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA):

  • Implemented on April 5, 2010 and are following the HAFA guidelines 
  • HAFA is first in short sale waterfall of options for a homeowner
  • Remember: Some investors (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) are not participating; offering a cooperative or traditional short sale
  • Proactive outreach to homeowners
  • Offering a pre-approved short sale solicitation 
  • After offer is submitted, approval within 14 days
  • Promissory Note – Not required with HAFA 
  • Homeowner required to clear second liens
  • Homeowner leaves the home – no deficiency and no contribution

Cooperative Short Sales:

  • Similar in approach to HAFA but wider in scope
  • Includes homeowners who are not eligible for HAFA – non-owner occupied, jumbo loans, Fannie, Freddie
  • Currently in pilot stages with rollout expected 2nd Quarter of 2010

Steps Underway to Educate Agents

Education Materials:

  • Overview of the process so agents can lead process
  • Step-by-Step Guidelines for working through the system as an agent and homeowner
  • Tips to avoid common problems

Outreach Events to Distribute Materials

  • Large Realtor Events
  • Webinars
  • Participation with Short Sale Certification Programs

Want Agents’ Input

  • Developing mechanisms for on-going feedback on process, systems, materials
  • Will act on feedback with continuous improvements

Introduction to Equator

  • 24/7 access to the short sale system
  • Status tracking
  • Direct communication with the Short Sale Negotiator
  • Documents are uploaded directly to Equator instead of faxing
  • Streamlined approval process
  • Historical view of offers and counter offers

Coming Soon in Equator:

  • There are a few specific loan investor types (i.e., FHA/VA) that are not on the Equator system and will be added at a later date
  • Agent feedback, homeowner feedback, and internal data is being leveraged to identify system and/or enhancements for future process rollouts and educational material improvements

Agent Communication within Equator

  • Throughout the process you will receive notifications of the status of the short sale. The system automatically tracks the agent, customer, and bank tasks and will alert you after key milestones have been achieved and to let you know the next steps.
  • For specific questions/concerns you have, the negotiator assigned to the short sale is your primary contact.
  • Please ensure when sending a message in Equator you only select “Negotiator”.
  • We request that you only send messages via Equator and not directly through email. This enables our associates to effectively manage the case load and respond to agent inquires in a timely manner.
  • If you have submitted a request to the Negotiator via Equator AND there has been no response after 2 business days: You should escalate to a “Team Lead” by selecting this role in your message drop down menu.
  • In the event of an urgent issue, such as, a foreclosure sale date within 48 hours: You should immediately escalate to the “Team Lead” and “Manager”; and also call the Short Sale support team at 1-866-880-1232. 

HAMP Update: Guidance to Expedite Permanent Modifications

February 1, 2010

On January 28, 2010, the Treasury Department and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)  released updated guidance for the mortgage servicers who initiate the modifications and monitor the trial periods.  The guidance refines the documentation requirements and other procedures in order to expedite conversions of current trial modifications to permanent ones.

Guidance Details

Supplemental Directive 10-01 provides guidance on two major issues:

  1. Converting Borrowers in the Temporary Review Period to Permanent Modifications

In December 2009, the Treasury implemented a review period through January 31, 2010 to provide servicers additional time to collect and submit missing documentation for borrowers in trial modifications, to require that borrowers be notified of any missing documents, and to give borrowers an opportunity to dispute and correct any erroneous information in their applications. Today’s guidance clarifies for servicers the proper procedures for conversion of those borrowers who are current on their monthly payments to permanent modifications.

Acknowledgement and Review of Initial Package

Within 10 business days following receipt of an Initial Package, the mortgage servicer must acknowledge in writing the borrower’s request for HAMP participation by sending the borrower confirmation that the Initial Package was received, and a description of the mortgage servicer’s evaluation process and timeline. If the Initial Package is received from the borrower via e-mail, the servicer may e-mail the acknowledgment. Servicers must maintain evidence of the date of receipt of the borrower’s Initial Package in its records.

Within 30 calendar days from the date an Initial Package is received, the mortgage servicer must review the documentation provided by the borrower for completeness. If the documentation is incomplete, the mortgage servicer must send the borrower an Incomplete Information Notice in accordance with the guidance set forth in the “Incomplete Information Notice” section below. If the borrower’s documentation is complete, the servicer must either:

  1. Send the borrower a Trial Period Plan Notice; or
  2. Make a determination that the borrower is not eligible for HAMP and communicate this determination to the borrower in accordance with the Borrower Notice guidance provided in Supplemental Directive 09-08.

A single written communication sent within 10 days of receipt of a borrower’s request for HAMP participation may also include, at the mortgage servicer’s discretion, the results of its review of the Initial Package. Mortgage servicers are reminded that Supplemental Directive 09-01 generally prohibits servicers from proceeding with a foreclosure sale for any potentially eligible mortgage loan until the borrower has been evaluated for eligibility under HAMP and has been determined to be ineligible or has declined a trial period plan offer.

 Incomplete Information Notice

If the mortgage servicer receives an incomplete Initial Package or needs additional documentation to verify the borrower’s eligibility and income, the servicer must send the borrower an Incomplete Information Notice that lists the additional required verification documentation. The Incomplete Information Notice must include a specific date by which the documentation must be received, which must be no less than 30 calendar days from the date of the notice. If the documents are not received by the date specified in the notice, the servicer must make one additional attempt to contact the borrower in writing regarding the incomplete documents. This additional notice must include the specific date by which the documentation must be received, which must be no less than 15 calendar days from the date of the second notice. If a borrower is unresponsive to these requests for documentation the servicer may discontinue document collection efforts and determine the borrower to be ineligible for HAMP. If the borrower is determined to be ineligible for HAMP, the servicer must communicate this determination to the borrower in accordance with the Borrower Notice guidance provided in Supplemental Directive 09-08.

Trial Period Plan Approval

Within 30 calendar days following receipt of an Initial Package or complete verification documents, the mortgage servicer must complete its verification and evaluate the borrower’s eligibility for HAMP and, if the borrower is qualified, send the borrower a Trial Period Plan Notice. If the borrower is determined to be ineligible for HAMP, the servicer must communicate this determination to the borrower in accordance with the Borrower Notice guidance provided in Supplemental Directive 09-08. Servicers are reminded that Supplemental Directive 09-01 prohibits servicers from initiating a new foreclosure action while a borrower is in a trial period plan.

Consideration for Alternative Loss Mitigation Options

When a borrower is determined to be ineligible for a HAMP modification, the servicer is required to consider that borrower for all other available loss mitigation options, including but not limited to refinance, forbearance, non-HAMP modifications and, to the extent a borrower does not qualify for a home retention alternative, Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (short sales or deeds in lieu of foreclosure) under Supplemental Directive 09-09. As required in Supplemental Directive 09-08, available loss mitigation options should be described in the Non-Approval Notice.

Conversation from Trial to Permanent Modification:

Servicers must use a two-step process for HAMP modifications. Following underwriting and a determination that the borrower qualifies for a HAMP trial modification, servicers will place qualified borrowers in a trial period plan by preparing and sending a Trial Period Plan Notice to the borrower describing the terms of the trial modification and the payment due dates. Borrowers who make all trial period payments timely and who satisfy all other trial period requirements will be offered a permanent HAMP modification.

Step 1 – Trial Period Plan Start

The trial period is 3 months in duration (or longer if necessary to comply with applicable contractual obligations). Borrowers are not required to sign or return the Trial Period Plan Notice. Servicers should retain a copy of the Trial Period Plan Notice in the borrower file and note the date that it was sent to the borrower. Receipt of the first payment due under the trial period plan on or before the last day of the month in which the first payment is due is evidence of the borrower’s acceptance of the trial period plan and its terms and conditions. The effective date of the trial period will be set forth in the trial period plan and is the 1st day of the month in which the first trial period plan payment is due.

Step 2 – Conversion to Permanent

The borrower must be current under the terms of the trial period plan at the end of the trial period to receive a permanent loan modification. “Current” in this context is defined as the borrower having made each required trial period payment by the last day of the month in which it is due.

Borrowers who fail to make current trial period payments are considered to have failed the trial period and are not eligible for a HAMP modification. Servicers are instructed to use good business judgment in determining whether trial period payments were received timely or if mitigating circumstances caused the payment to be late. Exceptions should be documented in the servicing record.


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